Former Buffalo Bills general manager Tom Donahoe is much-maligned around there parts, and for good reason. He took a playoff team and turned them into a cellar-dweller in just a few short years. But he had a great day 10 years ago today, going three-for-three with his first three selections in the 2001 NFL Draft and adding five contributors overall.
In the first round, Donahoe took Nate Clements No. 21 overall after trading down from No. 14. Clements paired with fellow Buckeye Antoine Winfield and later Terrence McGee to provide formidable duos in the defensive backfield. Clements started 91 games for Buffalo, recording 23 interceptions and 87 passes defended. He also laid the wood on 353 tackles while earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2004.
The second round saw Donahoe select the second-greatest pass rusher in team history when he plucked Aaron Schobel from TCU with the No. 46 overall selection. Brian went through Schobel's career accomplishments yesterday, and when they are juxtaposed with Clements' success it makes them even more remarkable.
Continuing the trend in the third round, the Bills selected Tennessee running back Travis Henry 58th overall with their second pick in the second round. The Bills traded down from No. 51 to this spot with the Denver Broncos, picking up an extra fourth-round pick. They still added a three-year starter in the bruising running back Henry, who rushed for 3,849 yards in Buffalo (starting 48 games) before losing the job to Willis McGahee. He made one Pro Bowl before being traded in 2005.
That would have been a successful day back when three rounds were on the first day of the NFL Draft, but the Bills had two picks left on April 21. With their original pick at No. 76 overall they took DT Ron Edwards, who started 25 games and recorded seven sacks as a Bill while adding 54 tackles. With a compensatory pick at the end of the round, Buffalo chose Jonas Jennings, who started 52 games on Buffalo's offensive line from 2001-2004.
The next day, April 22, didn't go as well for Buffalo, adding the likes of Brandon Spoon and Marques Sullivan, but this date 10 years ago was one of the top overall drafts in team history. I place it behind 1985 as the second-greatest in team history.